In Go Big to Go Small, I touched on the idea of “Remarketing.”  Remarketing is, basically, where you take the same technique you’re already using on your own site: serving up ads for your business based on a user’s on-site activity and taking it one step further: serving up ads for your business that are relevant to whatever that person is doing…off of your site.

It’s one of Google’s latest marketing “shinies” and it is definitely worth exploring.

Before you freak out, let’s clarify something: Remarketing is currently only run through existing advertising systems. Google Adwords is the favorite and has a solid hold on the market, but Blitz Metrics recently reported that Facebook has quietly started trying to get their piece of that proverbial pie as well. When you use an existing system like Google or Facebook, this is called remarketing. When you install a code independently that pops up ads outside of an advertising system that makes you a spammer. Don’t be a spammer. Nobody likes spammers. People do like remarketers.

How Does It Work?

When you sign up for the Google Adwords Remarketing program, you are assigned a tracking code. That tracking code is inserted into the cookies that Google Adwords installs on your site visitors’ computers. When that visitor clicks over to another site that displays Google Ads, your ad will be displayed instead of a random ad chosen based on the random keywords in that site’s keywords.

Like with the traditional Adwords program, you want to set up different ads to be served up to different people. The easiest way to do this is to create specific ads based on whatever page of your site a visitor last landed on. This way your ads will seem even more relevant.  Each ad you create is assigned its own tracking code.

Familiarity > SEO

It’s one of those marketing truths: people are more likely to buy from brands with which they are already familiar than they are to take a chance on someone or something new. According to the 2013 Nielsen New Product Purchase Sentiment Survey, 60% of consumers polled said that they prefer buying from someone they already know (or are at least peripherally familiar with) risking an unknown product or service.

Remarketing lets you tap into that impulse.

How to Make Your Campaigns Successful

Be mindful of how long you allow your ads to run. Change your ads regularly so that you don’t accidentally annoy a potential customer.

Frequency matters. It’s easy to go overboard and tell Google that you want your remarketing ad to show up for a user every day or even multiple times a day. Be careful here. You don’t want to alienate your audience. Pay attention to their viewing and buying habits when they are on your site and adjust your ad frequency accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. You aren’t trying to attract strangers. You’re trying to better endear yourself to existing traffic. This means that you don’t have to be as heavy handed with the sales language as you might with a “regular” ad. Split test a few options with each of your audiences to get a feel for what works.

Businesses that use remarketing have seen phenomenal results. For example, The Sierra Trading Post increased their click through rates twice over when they introduced remarketing into their campaigns and, better, had five times as many sales conversions. Who wouldn’t want numbers like that (or better)?